May 2nd, 2013

Upgrade from the Mainframe


Peter Daboll

Is your research vendor still selling you a product from the 70’s?

Back when technology was shifting from mainframes to PC’s and servers, many companies were still selling expensive mainframes and lucrative maintenance contracts to their customers, despite the fact that new technologies were delivering better solutions, faster, and at a fraction of the cost. These companies were selling these not because they were good for their client’s business, but because that was all they had to sell.  The failure of these companies to adapt to the new technological realities led to over-priced, unnecessary expenses to preserve an obsolete line of business in the short term, that ultimately led to their demise, and the demise of the careers of people who believed them shortly thereafter.

Today’s research industry titans are selling you a product analogous to the mainframe from the 1970’s. Their products, methods and projects have changed little from 40 years ago – bloated brand tracking or copy testing products from the Random Digit Dial era that are expensive, slow, and largely irrelevant for today’s consumer, and importantly, for today’s hyper time-compressed marketer.

The Myth of Consistency

As with any disruptive products, they begin with better technology. Many new players, not just Ace Metrix, can provide insights on today’s consumer faster, cheaper and better than the old school suppliers.  Cloud based data, real-time collection, social sphere integration, and mobile UIs are not in and of themselves proprietary concepts.  The industry’s future is based on the emerging technologies of today– but these technologies are absent from the DNA of these last-generation suppliers. They do not possess the technological leadership or political will given the cash cow nature of what they sell. It is a better return to continue to sell the mainframe, and polish the logo on their door. What could be viewed as a “safe” old-school choice in today’s technology environment is anything but.

As risky as staying with an obsolete supplier is jumping to a new supplier that is not vetted properly in research science. For example, making a decision only from Twitter data would yield a highly biased result.

But companies that leverage today’s technology and understand the research rigor required to deliver consumer insights are winning the hearts and minds (and wallets) of the industry’s elite marketers. The reasons are simple: not only are these solutions cheaper and orders of magnitude faster, they are just plain better.

Ace Metrix applies technology and automation to a largely pre-automated industry.

Better Survey

Sticking with an old-school supplier is not “safe”. The average consumer does not have time or inclination to sit through a 45 minute (or longer) survey, nor can the results captured from such a person be considered “normal” or representative. Technology and data analysis allows us to streamline the survey to achieve a number of key benefits

– obliterate panel fatigue, attract real representative viewers with a less than 10 minute survey
– evoke pure response with industry leading video quality and ‘watch an ad, score an ad’ method
– collect comparable, comprehensive metrics of Persuasion, Emotion, Brand Performance, Purchase Frequency – while maintaining the flexibility/ability to add custom questions

Better Sample

What old school research companies don’t want you to know is that there is a clear supplier bias when it comes to using different sample vendors. Many of these old-school suppliers use multiple sample vendors, sometimes even on the same study, without correcting for this bias yielding faulty results.

Our proprietary, patent pending sample provider enumeration and weighting schema corrects for this bias and results in:

– larger, gen-pop samples (500+ per ad), balanced for age, gender and income– plus augment targets without sacrificing speed or sample size
– consistent and comparable results across all ads

In addition, Ace Metrix engages the use of technology to impose stringent quality controls, such as automated bot detection, panelist re-verification, reverse geo lookup and other detection technology to eliminate professional test takers, fraudulent responders, and input errors.

Better Results

Not just faster, not just cheaper. Better.

– complete, detailed analytics within 24-48 hours of an ad debut
– normative data across all metrics and demos for brand, category, and industry
– relentless focus on platform usability and accessibility of data– lets marketers consume, discover and share new insights in real-time

The mainframe was an innovation several decades ago; so was the Model T ­– and your Brand Tracker.  But disruptive technology and innovation is what propels an industry forward.


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